Intuition and Material Exploration
Carrot Flower Creative is a small studio in Portland, Oregon, specializing in creative arts education and the production of limited edition handcrafted objects focused in ceramics and painting. No two pieces of work made through Carrot Flower Creative are exactly the same, but rather the individual nature of each piece is celebrated as it is made. The person buying an item from here is choosing it because the object cannot be mass produced and they value the imprint of human spirit upon the material. As a part of Carrot Flower Creative's intention, I work to use art and creativity as a form of community building.
My name is Sandra Oberdorfer, and I run Carrot Flower Creative. I am an artist with many years of experience working with a variety of media, and I have always used a combination of intuition and observation to bring out the best attributes of color and texture in the pieces I make. It's a joy to devote this attention to detail towards creating unique objects, and it's an even greater blessing to share this awareness and knowledge with students.
I have a BFA in Craft from Oregon College of Art and Craft and an MFA in Critical Theory and Interdisciplinary Studio from the Maine College of Art. I've worked several years in museum and art education as an educator, program organizer, and curator.
To see more examples of my artwork and writing, visit www.sandramoberdorfer.com.
Why Carrot Flower?
My garden is full of eclectic abundance. There are no straight rows of plants near my home, but instead a gathering of medicinal plants, tall sunflowers, juicy raspberries, vibrant dandelions, and flowering herbs. Nothing is particularly tidy out there and some plants fare better than others. I put seeds in the ground, build the quality of soil and water abundantly; but I take care not to assert my will too hard over the blooming life.
I consider it a partnership with the process. If something thrives, great! If not, then I try something else next time. If a squirrel collaborates by burying a tree nut for winter then forgets to eat it later, then I tend to that tree rather than pull it out as an unplanned 'weed'.
And, there is always more to discover. Several years ago I planted some carrot seeds as I learned more about the soil around my home. Would the seeds sprout here, where the sun exposure isn't as strong but the soil is good or would the seeds sprout there where the sunlight is rich but the ground is probably too hard?
Then, I let it go. In the hub-bub of the season, I forgot I'd even planted the seeds.
Months later, I saw these beautiful white flowers on stalks looking very akin to Queen Anne's Lace. I realized that my focus had been on carrots as these bundles of practical nutrition, yet hadn't considered the beauty of the plant itself in its full life cycle. We typically think of carrots simply in terms of their use to us as these delicious roots rather than also as lacy white blooms quietly singing their existence to the bees.
In our rush to get to the part we need, we lose sight of the the plant's entirety. The whole of the carrot includes not just the life-sustaining roots below ground but also everything above the soil; the green stems, the delicate leaves and the seductive blooms.
Similarly, we can think of the objects in our lives both as practical objects that perform a function for us and yet we can also simultaneously celebrate the inherent beauty of their being. Thus, we allow ourselves to appreciate the whole both in the use it provides and in the alluring beauty it bestows just by being.